A year after I started making this shirt, I am finally about to sew the last buttonhole.
It will take me about an hour, and then…this shirt is complete.
It takes a long time to hand sew a shirt…but it doesn’t take a year. I think for the last 6 months I’ve spent the time avoiding sewing these buttonholes. In case I stuff them up. This shirt has been awkward at times. I’ve taken the collar off and totally remade it – which took ages. The stitching is a strong contrast to the main fabric. Which I did, on purpose, so that the imperfect handmade nature of the shirt was obvious…but I couldn’t come to terms with how messy the stitching on the collar was. The collar is different to all the other parts of the shirt. Being circular there are no obvious ‘inside’ and ‘outside’…or the inside and outside change halfway through a line of stitching. You see, I can make one side reasonably neat…the other, well it’s pretty scrappy.
It’s taken a long time, most of that time has been taken up with my battle with myself to be perfect.
But also, some of that time has been dedicated to the fact that shirt making is all process. Like painting a room every new exploration is a lot of preparation before I actually get to sew, which I don’t find takes that long.
In this case the buttonholes took so long because I got curious about how handmade buttonholes are actually meant to be made. I had just made up my own technique…but I knew that there was going to be a ‘proper’ way to do it.
As I explored different techniques my buttonholes got a lot worse before they finally shaped up into something passable.
If that was the only delay, learning a new technique, then I may have slowed a little, but that wouldn’t have worried me. I like that shirt making is a process of discovery. It’s all the angst in between that I could do without.
It’s important for me to remember that the process is the point. To slow down and enjoy each piece of the puzzle.
That same old lesson coming back to visit me once again.
There is only now.
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